My labour began on Thursday, November 15th, 2007. At 11:00 am, just before leaving to pick up Carly from school. I started to feel small contractions that happened every 20 minutes for a few hours, then I called Cliff at around 3 pm and told him I think I am in labour as my contractions started to go from 20 mins, to 15, mins and then 7 mins and then 5 mins apart, but still I was not sure, as the day before I had 3 hours of contractions that just fizzled out. So, I called my doctors office and asked what I should do. My doctors office suggested I call the maternity ward and go and get checked. So, I waited for Cliff to come home before I called the maternity ward. Cliff got home around 5 pm as per usual, and he came home to the smell of chili. Lots of chili! I decided that I'd better make that chili FINALLY!! So, I made it during my early labour, and didn't even have time to take it off of the stove before leaving all of the kids at the kitchen table.
Cliff showered quickly and then I called the labour ward. I explained to them I was having my sixth baby, as in one, two, three, four, five SIX. The nurse on the other line thought I said my first. She asked me lots of questions, and I answered all of their questions. We decided I'd better come in for an assessment. They needed to put me on hold, and then I was cut off. They sure called me back in a hurry. I guess because I was having my sixth baby! You don't mess with a grand multi para!! (that is somebody who is expecting over their 5th baby, you enter a different category--who knew!!) I was packing my suitcase as I was holding on the phone. The contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I knew in my heart that this was it, even though the labour and delivery ward were not so sure. It was chaotic that evening, and we left during the worst part of the day...the dinner hour and bedtime hours. I felt bad leaving everybody, it was hard to walk away from everybody. But, the baby told me differently. I needed to get to the hospital.
We headed off to the hospital, it was dark, dreary and really wet. I still felt disbelief even as I was admitted to the maternity ward. It felt so surreal. A floor I am well familiar with, and still it felt like I was having a dream. I had the last last three babies on the same ward. Maybe it felt more like deja vu. At the desk was a Mom friend Anne (nurse) from school as her son, and my son are in the same class. She asked me to do a pee sample, and I did. She checked it, and all was well.
I then was put into a non stress test room. I was put on the monitor for about a 1/2 hour to check for contractions, and she also did an internal check. I was 4 - 5 centimetres and soft, paper thin cervix and head was low. I has made a lot of progress from my last prenatal appointment which was on the Tuesday two days before. At my last appointment I was a solid 2, and effacing cervix. So, with that hospital check done, I was having regular contractions on the monitor. I was officially in labour, and officially admitted. They called my Doc (who was away at a fancy fundraising dinner, that he wanted to get out of by the way...he told that to his MOA when I talked to her earlier that day) they wanted to break my water to get things going. In the past that worked, but not so much this go around.
I was told that the labours are a lot harder in a 3rd and a 6th pregnancy. Who knew?! I hadn't had any real troubles with ANY of my five in the past. But, I knew my body, and my body was tired, but I was determined to have a vaginal delivery! I was going to meet my baby soon. But not as soon as we would have thought. My poor old uterus was tired, and didn't want to help get the baby out.
Finally, my doctor made it to the hospital, and I was settled into my room. and he was all dressed up in a shirt and tie, and I was officially admitted! This time around we were in room 340, and we were on the very front of the building over looking the parking lot, and not the airport as we had in previous births there. I changed into my blue gown, and my doc broke my water. It took a few tries to pop the baby pool and then the warm amniotic fluid rushed out. A very familiar feeling, and feeling like OK, here we go. That was at 8:4o pm. My wonderful photographer Jillian came and stayed with us for the duration of my long labour and delivery. I didn't know it would take so long. She did the beautiful photography of my labour and delivery, and I am so happy we decided to get help with that. As, this labour and delivery we just wanted the two of us in there. That being Cliff and myself. As with previous births we have had MANY people in there. This time it was just us. That was really a good choice considering the length of my labour this time around.
So, to try to get labour going good, I got onto the big blue exercise ball, and did hip circles and more hip circles. The sound was so loud and almost mesmerizing that Cliff hopped onto the hospital bed and took a nap. Jillian and I laughed and she took a photo of him. Poor guy was so tired, we both really were. We all kept our fingers crossed, and our spirits high. We kept guessing birth times. And those came and went very quickly we saw 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm, 7:00 pm 10:00 pm and 12:01 am. Nope. No baby on the 15th. I think baby didn't like the rainy day (the so so nurses on staff that night) or something like that. We figured Baby number six wanted a sunny day like the other five, and perhaps a unique birth story quite unlike the others.
My contractions kept on going and going and getting closer together until around 1:00 am. on the early morning of November 16th.
My labour just stopped. And nothing happened. Yup. Nothing.
So, the nurse suggested I get some sleep. Thankfully I did just that because my ankles and legs were so swollen and my body was so tired. So Cliff and Jillian slept on the small little plastic couch upright. I actually slept on the bed. It felt good.
Through the night, I got up to go pee a few times during the night. Then, I would hop back in and sleep some more. The swelling in my legs was not as bad, but still there. So, I slept a bit more. I felt some very gentle contractions through the night, but nothing like they were the day before. So, at 4:30 am I awoke, washed my face, flossed, combed out my hair, put on some new deodorant and put some fresh make up on. Freshen up from the hours and hours before. I decided to walk a bit, and then I got on the ball. No contractions. The nurse checked me, and listened to the heartbeat of our unborn child. She suggested I walk and try to get the labour going again. So, I walked and walked the halls with Cliff, and by myself.
Nothing happened. No contractions. That made me feel frustrated and sad that my body was not doing its job. But I remained positive, and focused on the job ahead. I knew I would meet the baby, but I didn't know when.
Later that morning before 8:00 am, my Doctor came in to my room (he slept next door and was going on 19 days of straight work) and he suggested we go out for breakfast and get out of there because there was a shortage of nurses, and lots of babies being born and there was nobody to start my Pitocin drip. So, I was last priority until the other babies were delivered. At first thought, I said no, I will just wait here, but we sent Jillian to go get some rest and freshen up. And earlier on our walks around the L/D ward we were told by a nurse at the front desk to just stop walking, and cross to cross my legs. It was just too busy on the ward to have the baby. So we stopped everything. I sat down on the bed, feeling like will this baby EVER come out?! So, we decided yes, let us go out for breakfast. So, I got dressed and we walked out of there into the sunny day. A much better day to have a baby we hoped. At this point I though maybe the baby would be born on the 17th. I felt like I would NEVER have this baby. It felt weird to be out of the hospital, baby still inside. But the change was good for the soul. I needed a change of scenery.
We drove towards our house, because wouldn't you know we had a plumber arriving bright and early! Good timing baby! So, we drove by the school and found my friend Lisa and her hubby Jim (my friend who has the same family as me, expecting her sixth too!) and I asked her if I could visit for awhile so that I did not have to go to our house. I didn't want to see the kids and confuse them with my still pregnant belly. And, I wouldn't want to leave if I saw the kids. So, Jim gave me their house key, as they were walking and I was told not to walk. So, Cliff drove me to their place, he left and I let myself in to their house and sat and waited for them. They got home, and I sat there and talked with them for awhile. Then, after the plumber stuff was finished, Cliff came and got me and we went to the local Ricky's restaurant. I ordered some breakfast, an eggs benedict, fruit and hashbrowns and a decaf coffee. I ate half, and Cliff at the rest. We then decided to drive to Tim Hortons to get a gift card for Jillian, as she was with us for much longer than expected, and an to get an ice cap for me. Cliff left me in the van with the radio on, and this fun song came on called 'Rock me Gently' by Neil Diamond. And I realized that was the song for the baby. That song put me in a good mood, and gave me the strength to go on! Cliff got back into the van and we headed back to the hospital around 11:00 am. And, now I had been in labour for 24 hours now. I changed back into my hospital gown, and this time I knew there was no turning back. This baby would arrive sometime today. That gave me the energy to keep going. But I still felt exhausted. There was the shift change, and I got had a great new nurse named Margie, and she put me on the monitor, she was bubbly and friendly and she made me feel so much better than the previous nurses. I knew things would be OK.
My doc came back to my room, and the Pitocin was ordered. So, my great nurse Margie got the IV stuff, and answered all of my questions about Pitocin and how it worked etc. I have had no experience with it in the past labours and deliveries. So, I learned some new stuff even in my 6th pregnancy.
She tried to get the IV in, but she blew out my vein. She felt really bad, but my veins are very shallow and hard to get to. So, she put pressure on the vein, and bandaged it up. It really hurt, and my arm was all swollen. She then tried my right arm, and no luck there either. So, she left for a bit, and came back with a smaller needle and put it into my left hand. It hurt, but I managed. I figured, just suck it up sister. This is nothing compared to what is coming my way. So, it was done. And, I got over it. I am just not a needle type of girl.
I was checked, and now baby was way up high again, and my cervix was long and 2 cms. So, labour really had stalled. The Pitocin would hopefully allow my brain to remember what to do, and bring that head back down to apply pressure to the cervix. If not, the dreaded c-section was mentioned and then I was told I am now considered a higher risk due to the Pitocin induction. So, I had to be constantly on the monitor, and drag the IV pole around which Cliff named Ivan. But, even with the monitor and IV I could still do walking with Ivan and Cliff. That was a good thing. The last thing I wanted was to be strapped down in an uncomfortable bed. I was monitored on the strips for a half hour, then she started me on a very low dosage of Pitocin around 2:30 pm. I then walked for about a half our around the ward. I felt very minor contractions. But hey, that was progress.
I came back to my room, the Pitocin was upped, and then I was monitored for about a 1/2 hour, then I was told to walk for 30 mins. I felt a couple of minor contractions, but they were stronger than yesterdays. That was good. I could tell labour was going to happen.
I then came back to the room, and the Pitocin was upped for the 3rd time. I felt contractions! They were stronger and longer. That was good. I was monitored for another 1/2 hour or so, and I went pee and then I walked. I was told to walk for another 30 mins. Well, I felt about four good contractions in that walking session. I had to stop and grab the wall to breathe through them all. I said lets go back to the room after this last circle around the ward. I had to pee, so back to my room. I went pee and as I was going pee I felt a really strong contraction. I said call the nurse, I think I am ready to have the baby. My nurse was on a dinner break. This is after 5 pm. I said get my doctor then! I am going to have the baby! Get him!
Thankfully they got him in time, and Margie was back, and walked back into our room very happy to see that things were FINALLY happening!! I had to really breathe through the contractions as I was on the bed, and I was watching the Oprah show. It was show about the hoarders (the second part.) As I was breathing, I would open my eyes trying to catch the end of the show! It is organizing, come on now lol.
They got the room ready to go (well a bit more set up as the room was set up last night) I was about to have the baby. My doctor came in and asked if he had time to get on his scrubs. I said yes, go get them on!! So he did. I was breathing through some very painful contractions. They asked if I was checked, and I said no. So, I was checked by one of the nurses either Claire or Margie. I cannot remember now, and I was at 9 cms. So, then I was checked again after my doc was in the room. I was ready to go! It was baby time. I went from 2 cms to 9 very quickly! That Pitocin did a great job!
I actually did not use any gas for this labour. I had used the gas for all of my labours usually at the 9 cm - 10 cm part. But, I didn't need it this time. It felt good to know I was about to FINALLY have the baby. I was in great control of my breathing. I remember my doctor telling me how great my controlled breathing was. I just kept at it. Breathing through the contractions. I felt great, although it was very painful.
Then it was time to push. I think I pushed for a few contractions. I think about 3-4 minutes maybe. And did I push. It was hard to push this time around, compared to my other labours. I think because I was so tired from the long labour, lack of sleep and feeling warn out etc. I pushed with all of my might, and the head came down in one push, I then pushed again, and more of the head came out. Then, another push with grunts the head was out, and I reached down and felt the head. It felt so warm and soft. I wanted to meet our baby! My doctor said it looked like a boy head. I said I don't think so!
Then, I had to breathe, more like pant until baby's head was suctioned out etc. Then, I had to grunt along with little pushes to bring the shoulders out, and then the rest of the body. That felt great to get her out! I had requested that I call out what we had. I didn't want anybody to tell me this time if it was a boy or a girl. The funny thing was that everybody in the room knew, and I was last to know. My doc told me to open my eyes and look! Look at your baby Cathy! And there I saw on the table below me, a beautiful little girl! I said It's a girl! Our Courtney Elizabeth. And I reached for her and I cried so many happy tears! She arrived into our world at 5:34 pm. This was the longest labour I have ever experienced. But, you know she was worth the 30 hours and 34 minutes it took for her to get to us.
Courtney was worth the wait, and the final addition the the family. She is a wonderful little baby, who is peaceful, calm and rarely makes a fuss. She is a wonderful little gal. We cannot imagine life without her in it.